In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to highlight two VERY important ladies in our lives… OUR MOMS! Luanne Johnson and Sherri Callison — they have been pivotal in shaping us into the women we are today; we have been so blessed by their guidance and are honored to share their love and experiences with you as our May Moms-of-the-Month!
Meet Amber’s Mom: Luanne, aka LuLu, or Nanny LuLu to the kiddos. As a nurse manager of a high-risk Labor and Delivery unit, she is an advocate for all things women’s health, but has a special focus in supporting women during prenatal and postpartum care. (It’s no wonder Amber found her life’s passion in supporting women during this stage of life!) LuLu is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, and will make you the strongest cocktail and/or cup of coffee this side of the Mississippi! She is an animal lover and hopes to someday have a farm with baby goats… obviously, we’re pulling for this, too! She lives with her husband, Papa Mark, and their three dogs in Mansfield, Ohio.
Meet Kimmie’s mom, Sherri. As a high school secretary, she is a huge supporter of public education and has spent her career working in schools in different capacities to support children, teachers, and families. Sherri loves spending free time with her girlfriends or cheering on the grandkids at their various sporting events. She never turns down a good chocolate martini or generous pour of riesling! Her 9 grandchildren have given her several different nicknames, Sheesh, Ishee, Shish, the list goes on, but her favorite is just plain ol’ Grandma. She lives with her husband, Rick aka “Bubba”, and two foster grand-dogs in Columbus, Ohio.
Of all the pride you’ve felt throughout your motherhood journey, is there one memory that stands out as your proudest mom-moment?
Luanne: I’m sorry I’m unable to scale that down to only one….there are so many and each is a favorite! But, I would like to say that now is a very proud Mom moment, as I see my kids and the people they have chosen as spouses, and the wonderful parenting they are all doing. Seeing my children parent with compassion is a very proud moment.
Sherri: Wow, you have asked me to condense 47 years of being a mom into one special moment? I don’t think I can pick just one. My whole life has been one incredible mom-moment. But, if I had to choose, it would have to come down to 4 special moments…..each moment that I first laid eyes on each of my 4 children. Seeing each of my babies for the very first time, looking into their precious, beautiful faces, all goopy, sticky, and sloppy eyed…..nothing was ever more beautiful or has ever made me feel the proudest as becoming a new mommy. I never knew I could love a “being” as much as I did from the very first second of each of their lives. Instant love, instant passion, from that very first moment together, I was filled to my core with the deepest sense of love and pride I had ever known.
If your family had an anthem or a theme song, what would it be?
Luanne: Carry On, By CSNY. That one always gets us going!
Sherri: Tough one…..as I tried to pick just one song that represents our family, I couldn’t do it. These turned out to be the songs with messages that came to mind: “Humble & Kind” by Tim McGraw; “Find Your Wings” by Mark Harris; “Never Alone” by Lady Antebellum; “Celebration” by Kook & the Gang; and “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. These songs represent to me our family and how we have lived our lives as individuals and as a family. We’ve tried to live our lives with humility, love, laughter & kindness shown to each other & to everyone we know. We have hoped for successes as we encouraged each other to spread your wings in life (sometimes with tears in our eyes), but always letting you know that we were there for you, during good and bad times, no matter the outcome, your family was there to lift you up or catch you if you fell. We celebrate each other, no matter what happens, because we are FAMILY; we are always there for each other and we stick together through thick and thin. We share our love, pride, family values, and devotion for each other…….. to the moon and back. This is our family…..my greatest gift of life.
How does being a mom compare to being a grandma?
Luanne: Well, first of all you make all of the mistakes as a Mom, and then as a Grandmother you are given an opportunity to atone for them. So a Grandchild is like a second chance at getting it right. And then you can also help your adult children be parents and give them some time away too, which is great to be able to do for them. I want to help as much as I can because I remember how difficult life with small kids can be, day in and day out. And I am so thankful my kids still like me after living through being my children when I didn’t know my “you know what” from a hole in the ground!…at least I think they still like me… 😉
Sherri: This is a great question and the answer may surprise even myself. As a new mom, my whole entire life centered around doing everything I possibly could to love, comfort, care for, enlighten, teach and protect my baby. I was fearful of “not doing it right”, or “making a mistake”, or “not feeling adequate in my knowledge about babies”. I was so young and nervous at times, unsure of myself, afraid I would “damage” my baby. Those are feelings I think all new moms deal with. It was a marvelous, beautiful time in my life, one I would not trade for anything. But now that I’m a Grandma, the stress and fears have vanished but the love, pride, joy and excitement of being with my grandchildren has completely filled my heart and soul. I’ve noticed that I can enjoy each child, for the individual each one is. I marvel at how beautiful, how smart, how funny, how talented each one is. I don’t “worry” about everything being perfect with them because in my eyes, they are just that, perfect. I have been so very very blessed with these adorable, loving grandchildren. Being a Grandmother is like nothing else I have ever experienced in my life.
We know you have a million secrets and tricks to share, but pick just one – give us your best “mom-hack”!
Luanne: Placing the thought in their head so it would become an expectation for the future. I hung a large map of the world on a wall in our house with the message, “The World Is Your Oyster”, so the kids would know life was about going out there beyond Mansfield, Ohio.
Sherri: Oh, there have been many over the years. But the one that came to mind first was one our family has used for years. It starts later in life when two of your children start to argue over “which one gets the bigger half” of something. They both want the “big” one. Well, our family has squelched that problem. We say, “One divides, the other decides.” So if they are sharing a doughnut, a cookie, a dish of this or that, you can count on the fact that the one that “divides” the treat will make it as even as possible so the one that “decides” doesn’t get to pick the bigger portion. It’s amazing how this little phrase has ended many a moment of tears. It’s called cooperation.
If you had one piece of advice for a new mom, what would it be?
Luanne: Don’t buy in to the competition other people create for you. Don’t be surprised when others don’t want you to succeed in the Mom arena, it is very competitive. Find your own comfort zone, embrace and protect it. Let your children thrive within that zone, let them be exactly who they are and just respond with wonder. Make it strong, and peaceful, and safe.
Sherri: Oh, there is so much I could suggest, but the best piece of advice I could give any new mom is, cherish and savor each moment you have with your baby, take time for yourself, and “don’t sweat the small stuff”. (I guess that’s 3 things, but each is such an integral part of being a new mom.) Time with baby……take time to enjoy your baby. It’s okay to cuddle and rock your baby if you want to; it’s your special time with that bundle of joy. It’s okay to just cuddle and stare into the precious face of the gift you have been given. It’s okay! Time for yourself…..take time to treat yourself to the little pleasures of life, like a shower, a nap, a quiet time to read a book or listen to music. You may be healing from the delivery, so be good to yourself. This is when you call upon Daddy, Grandma or a friend or neighbor to help care for your baby so you take care of you too. It’s mandatory and it’s okay! And finally, “don’t sweat the small stuff”……the dishes can sit in the sink, the baby can wear that slightly soiled sleeper, the “dust bunnies” can roll around in the corner. It’s okay! Again, call on Grandma for help. Believe me, she will love love love it! (I know!) She wants to be there for you! TIME….it is fleeting, so savor it. It is one of the most incredible times in your life. I’m so happy for you, New Momma!
Thank you, Moms. We love you to the moon and back!
Amber & Kimmie